Party, Party! – Time, Decorations and Gifts

This weekend is full on party as we are celebrating my son turning two. Today my family and the godmothers were invited and tomorrow the house will be full of toddlers. Fun and exhausting. But I’m not sure which I enjoy more: the party or the preparations.

Before we had kids, we decided, that we want to give them time and respect for gifts. We talked about this when we one Boxing Day encountered a maybe 7 yo girl, a “friend of a friend”, and I asked her what she got for Christmas. She answered “a slide, camera, laptop…” and then she wasn’t too sure as she hadn’t opened them all yet. Not even all gifts from the previous Christmas.

So we decided that a part of our gift will always be time. Now when our kids are small, birthdays offer a good excuse for doing crafts together: we choose a theme and make decorations together. I and hubby make part of them after kids bedtime but I see that as giving them time too. The decorations may not always look as fancy as bought ones, but the joy of doing something together, the joy of creating something unique to our kids and their joy of finding everything in place is worth the effort.

Anyway, toddlers are easily pleased, the first thing we did in the early hours of the morning was tin foil airplanes, which they happily played with until we skyped one set of grandparents and got to open the first wrapped gifts. When our kids grow older tin foil and paper crafts will most likely not be satisfying, but then we’ll just have to find other ways to have fun together.

However, this time the theme was ‘airplanes’ as the birthday boy is a little Dusty fan. This is some of the decorations we made:

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I am no chef but I like the theme to be visible on the table too – and I like our kiddos getting excited over the little details. Today we had a Dusty table cloth, napkins folded as airplanes, stars and a few runways and planes out of food. Tomorrow we’ll have a sky with stars, clods and crafted airplanes for each kid.

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Btw, my husband made the cake!

Other easy themes we’ve thrown a birthday party to are aquarium (a paddle pool with fish etc on the yard, a huge poster we drew together, shells on the table, whale cake…), cars and traffic (e.g. we drew huge “traffic mats” to cover the floor, built lego houses on it, car and bus posters with stickers on the walls…) and princesses (napkin rings out of bead bracelets, crowns…).

Do you have principles or traditions that you cherish, when it comes to birthdays or giving gifts?

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17 comments

  1. Can’t believe I miss this post… Your hubby is good in cakes, isn’t he? 😛

    1. Yes, he is. And I am sooooo happy he’s taken over that part!

    2. Btw, I still agree with the content of the post but I have to admit that since I started working and especially now when my husband is away every second week, the time we use preparing together has diminished. It is a shame. But I’d like to think we still do things together, just not such planned party preparations 😉

  2. […] the birthday table: together with my son we built a ship out of sandwiches (never mind the lean, we had fun doing it 😉 ), I made simple healthy sail boat snacks out of cucumber, red pepper and cheese and orange […]

  3. […] but as I’ve mentioned before, I think the good part of a celebration often consists of the anticipation, and that common crafts are a good way to build up the […]

  4. […] We tried these last summer on a kids festival, I liked them, and as I’ve mentioned before, I like to give time as a part of my present to my kids. This was our Christmas present to our kids aiming for us to have […]

  5. Happy Birthday to your little boy! You are a great Mommy! Looks like a great party. Tell your husband I loved the cake.What flavour was it?

    1. Thanks! It was a tiger cake so a mix of “normal” and coco.

  6. […] a free event I would have been quite interested in attending if I would not have been busy with my sons birthday celebrations. Tags: Foodycle, free events in Helsinki, Helsinki, local food, organic […]

  7. Hi freebutfun,
    I like your way to celebrate birthday party.and yes specially i like cake that made by your husband.

    1. My hubby says thanks, and I am happy to hear you share some of my values; they make life fun!

  8. Happy birthday little guy!

    Also love your thoughts about the gift of time.

    Your food is also very creative – add in the gift of food-made-like-planes!

    1. Thanks! I guess it is nice to give time as I enjoy that myself too. But to be more frank: the big boy does enjoy the airplane, tractor, garage and all the other lovely gifts he got. And it is nice to give something concrete as well 🙂

      1. Yes, it’s definitely about balance and we could probably all argue for hours about where that balance lies, but it’s nice to remember to place value in things other than, well, things.

        Love your new avatar, by the way. The jumping shot – perfect choice!

        1. Good to hear somebody else likes my choice of avatar, I thought something more human would be nicer.

  9. That looks like a great party and I agree with you re presents!
    My favourite b’day party we threw for Max when he was three I think was a Thomas the tank engine party. My hubby decorated a great cake and we got a massive canvas, drew a big picture of Thomas the tank engine and then all the kids came up and painted it in. Yes it was a little messy but everyone had a great time painting and we still have the canvas too! One of the best parts about parenting I’d say 🙂

    1. wow, Thomas the Tank Engine would be a good one here too! And everybody drawing on Thomas on the canvas is a great idea! I may have to steel the canvas idea for my daughters next birthday. Her birthday is in the summer so mess is not a problem!

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